Monday 27 January 2020

Grand National 2016: Tips, betting odds and full guide to the likely runners at Aintree

Last year's winning trainer Oliver Sherwood and jockey Leighton Aspell are trying to emulate their 2015 success on Saturday
Last year's winning trainer Oliver Sherwood and jockey Leighton Aspell are trying to emulate their 2015 success on Saturday

Simon Rice

The Grand National, one of the highlights of the sporting calender, takes place this weekend.

The 40 runners for the race at Aintree will be confirmed on Thursday at 10am, but for those who fancy a flutter, you can get ahead of the game with our guide below.

With the help of BetVictor, we've selected 51 horses that are in strong contention to be involved on Saturday, complete with owner, trainer, latest odds (in brackets, with BetVictor paying our each-way bets to six places) and some background.

Check out our guide below...

1. Many Clouds (7/1)

Owner: Trevor Hemmings

Trainer: Oliver Sherwood

Worthy 7/1 favourite who is bidding to become the first horse since the legendary Red Rum in 1973-4 to win the race back-to-back having carried 11st 9lbs to victory 12 months ago. Has looked better than ever this season and was a fluent winner of his final prep race at Kelso; only carrying 1lb more this year and the one to beat.   

Watch the full How To Win The Grand National video below...


2. Silviniaco Conti (10/1)

Owner: Potensis Bloodstock Limited & Chris Giles

Trainer: Paul Nicholls

Right back to his best when winning an Ascot Grade 1 back at 2m 5f last time but the suggestion is he is better going right-handed and certainly edged right when winning at the National meeting last season albeit over the tight Mildmay course; has won seven Grade 1 races including two King George VI Chases and if he takes to the obstacles might go close.


3. First Lieutenant (33/1)

Owner: Gigginstown House Stud

Trainer: Mouse Morris

Never in the hunt after early mistakes in the corresponding race last season and stamina and jumping to prove; very nearly top class at his best but always seems to find at least one or two too good; others preferred.


4. Wonderful Charm (50/1)

Owner: R J H Geffin

Trainer: Paul Nicholls

This has long been the plan for champion trainer Paul Nicholls and has run well at this meeting in the past. Has never won beyond 2m 5f and stamina a major concern; readily overlooked.


5. Ballynagour (66/1)

Owner: Allan Stennett

Trainer: David Pipe

Has a touch of class and run well at this meeting 12 months ago; could go well for a long way if taking to the unique fences but my immediate impression is he wouldn’t stay four-and-a-quarter-miles in a horse box 


6. O’Faolains Boy (33/1)

Owner: Trembath, Hyde, Outhart & Hill

Trainer: Rebecca Curtis

A more than lively outsider with the stable of Rebecca Curtis in red-hot form at present having been largely out of sorts this season; won the RSA Chase back in 2014 two campaigns ago and ran well for a very long way when mixing it with the big boys in the Gold Cup. Curtis saddled Teaforthree to finish third in the race back in 2013; we have not had a Welsh trained winner of the race since Kirkland in 1905 but goodness knows they have been knocking on the door of late.


7. Gilgamboa (50/1)

Owner: John P McManus

Trainer: Enda Bolger

Taken off his feet by Vautour in the Ryanair at Cheltenham and another who holds another engagement at the meeting (Grade 1 Bowl on Thursday). Yet to win beyond 2m 5f and hard to make a case for with stamina a major concern.


8. On His Own (40/1)

Owner: Andrea & Graham Wylie

Trainer: Willie Mullins

Beaten a short-head in a poor Gold Cup two years ago and, arguably, unlucky not to win at Fairyhouse on his penultimate start; out of contention when fell in the race back in 2013 (well fancied 8/1 shot) and he didn’t look a natural on that occasion. 


9. The Druids Nephew (14/1)

Owner: The Stonehenge Druids

Trainer: Neil Mulholland

A leading contender but has his ship sailed having come down five out when still travelling well in the race 12 months ago? he is actually 4lbs worse off with the winner Many Clouds on the revised terms but he ran a terrific prep race at Doncaster on ground too soft last month. Handicapped as if he would have gone very close last year but five out is a long way from home.

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Druid's Nephew ridden by Barry Geraghty wins at Chelteham 10/3/15

10. Triolo D’Alene (25/1)

Owner: Mr & Mrs Sandy Orr

Trainer: Nicky Henderson

Won the Topham over these fences three years ago and has been trained solely for the race this season; that said trainer Nicky Henderson has yet to win the National and has had seven of his 37 runners come down at the first fence! This is another leading candidate, however, and I am willing to forgive his poor effort in the great race back in 2014 when he left his race at Cheltenham; he will be fresh and goes to Aintree with every chance.


11. Rocky Creek (66/1)

Owner: The Johnson & Stewart Families

Trainer: Paul Nicholls

Fifth in the race in 2014 but never competitive last year and has failed to shine since running Gold Cup winner Don Cossack to eight lengths at Down Royal back in October; hard to make a case for at present.


12. Sir Des Champs (33/1)

Owner: Gigginstown House Stud

Trainer: Willie Mullins

Finished runner up to Bobs Worth in the Gold Cup but that was three years ago and was off the track for the best part of two years before making a winning reappearance at Thurles in November; failed to build on that effort in two subsequent starts but the handicapper has given him a chance and I’m not surprised to see him nibbled at in the market from 40s to 33/1.

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Sir Des Champs, with Davy Russell up (SPORTSFILE)

13. Holywell (12/1)

Owner: Mrs Gay Smith

Trainer: Jonjo O’Neill

Finished fourth in the Gold Cup in 2015 and if he is still in the race having jumped Becher’s Brook (fence 6) the first time, and enjoying himself, he is my idea of the winner although it is a big if. His trainer Jonjo O’Neill never completed the course in eight rides as a jockey but has saddled the winner of the race back in 2010 courtesy of Don’t Push It; significant rain would be a negative but, arguably, the best handicapped horse in the race and a must for any short-list. 


14. Shutthefrontdoor (20/1)

Owner: John P McManus

Trainer: Jonjo O’Neill

A P McCoy’s final ride in the Grand National last season when travelling like a dream for much of the race only for the petrol to empty coming to two out; has a similar profile to Hedgehunter who looked a non-stayer when falling at the last before returning 12 months later to win back in 2005; was only an 8-y-old last season and that experience will not have been lost on him but can he find the necessary stamina reserves?

Many Clouds and Leighton Aspell touch down ahead of Tony McCoy and Shutthefrontdoor en route to victory in the Crabbie’s Grand National last year.

15. Soll (40/1)

Owner: Derrick Mossop

Trainer: David Pipe

A sound jumper who was the day-of-the-race gamble last year when backed into 9/1 but beaten more than 40 lengths by Many Clouds; unless the heavens open hard to make a case for although looks sure to complete the course, albeit in his own time. 


16. Buywise (40/1)

Owner: T Hywel Jones

Trainer: Evan Williams

Has always threatened to win a big race so why not the National? Often let down by his jumping but if he takes to the fences he could give Evan Williams, who has saddled six placed horses in the race from eight runners, that elusive first success.


17. Boston Bob (25/1)

Owner: Andrea & Graham Wylie

Trainer: Willie Mullins

Despite four Grade 1 wins to his name he hasn’t quite reached the heights once expected of him; the handicapper has certainly given him a chance, however, and it would be no surprise if he run a big race for Willie Mullins successful back in 2005 with Hedgehunter the last outright favourite to win the race although 2 joint favourites have subsequently won the race Comply Or Die in 2008 and Don’t Push It in 2010.


18. Aachen (100/1)

Owner: Tony Bloom

Trainer: Venetia Williams

Owned by Brighton FC owner Tony Bloom but this 12-year-old is unlikely to be flying as high as his Seagulls side who are chasing automatic promotion to the Premier League. Trainer Venetia Williams won the race with a similar 100/1 shot (Mon Mome) back in 2009 but this representative is likely to find things happening too quickly unless there is significant rain.


19. Morning Assembly (25/1)

Owner: Clipper Logistics Group Limited

Trainer: Pat Fahy

Has returned as good as ever this season following a year off although he did appear to jump out to the right when getting tired at Cheltenham last time; beat Don Cossack as a novice back in 2013 but all wins with plenty of cut and stamina a concern.

Pat Fahy trained Morning Assembly goes in the Crabbie’s £1m feature at Aintree on Saturday. Photo: Barry Cregg / Sportsfile

20. Double Ross (66/1)

Owner: Options O Syndicate

Trainer: Nigel Twiston-Davies

Represents a yard who have won the National twice (Bindaree and Earth Summit) previously but this 10-year-old has not been at his very best so far this term and stamina is a big concern having never won beyond 2m 5f.


21. Goonyella (16/1)

Owner: Ann & Alan Potts Partnership

Trainer: Jim Dreaper

Showed he wasn’t just a mudlark when finishing runner up in the Scottish National last season and has been brought along slowly this season with Aintree in mind; that said he has not fired in two previous visits and only got as far as the first in the Becher Chase of 2014.


22. Ucello Conti (25/1)

Owner: Simon Munir & Isaac Souede

Trainer: Gordon Elliott

The Gordon Elliot yard are looking for the Gold Cup/National double after Don Cossack’s Cheltenham success and the stable have already saddled the winner of the race back in 2007 with Silver Birch. The handicapper suggested he was one of the most difficult horses to assess having had only three runs since coming over from his native France; a lively contender.   


23. Unioniste (25/1)

Owner: John Hales

Trainer: Paul Nicholls

Represents the same owner-trainer combination who were successful with Neptune Collonges in 2012 but only got as far as the fifth in the corresponding race 12 months ago when sent off a 16/1 shot. No match for Many Cloud in his final prep race at Kelso but is 12lbs better off for the 10 lengths he was beaten; big player if you can forgive last year’s fall. 


24. Le Reve (40/1)

Owner: P H Betts

Trainer: Lucy Wadham

All six career wins going right-handed and likes plenty of cut in the ground so conditions likely to be far from ideal and hard to make a case for given he is 0-8 going left-handed.


25. Gallant Oscar (25/1)

Owner: John P McManus

Trainer: Tony Martin

This race has long been the target having been balloted out of the race last season when a leading fancy; all wins with plenty of cut but I think he will handle decent ground and he looked to be coming to hand when running well in the Leinster National last month.

McManus: owner of Blazer Photo: Sportsfile

26. Onenightinvienna (33/1)

Owner: Mrs Judith Luff

Trainer: Philip Hobbs

You have to go back to 1958 for the last time a novice (Mr What) won the race and Bogskar was the last 7-year-old to win back in 1940! the stats say the race will come at least a year too soon but this sound jumper bypassed Cheltenham for a crack at the National and he runs in the colours of the 1986 winner West Tip.


27. The Last Samurai (10/1)

Owner: Paul & Clare Rooney

Trainer: Kim Bailey

A facile winner at Doncaster last time but to my eyes that wasn’t much of a race (just six runners) although the handicapper would give the 8-y-o another 12lbs if he could frame the weights again. Trainer Kim Bailey won the race back in 1990 with Mr Frisk and he has a leading contender on his hands again no less than 26 years on.


28. Kruzhlinin (20/1)

Owner: Paul & Clare Rooney

Trainer: Philip Hobbs

Well beaten in the race two years ago but that was as a 7-y-o and was an impressive winner on his penultimate start at Kempton although he is another who might be best served by going right-handed; has a bit to find with Holywell on recent Cheltenham running and rain would be a plus.  


29. Rule The World (40/1)

Owner: Gigginstown House Stud

Trainer: Mouse Morris

No match for the ill-fated No More Heroes in a Grade 1 Novice Chase at Leopardstown over Xmas and yet to win in 13 runs over the larger obstacles albeit often in decent company. All hurdle wins on soft ground but handles quicker conditions and trainer won the Irish Grand National over Easter.


30. Just A Par (33/1)

Owner: C G Roach & Paul K Barber

Trainer: Paul Nicholls

Has had only three starts this term having been trained for this race all season; didn’t look a natural over these fences when pulled up in the Becher Chase of 2014 but better ground will suit and realistic each way claims.


31. Katenko (66/1)

Owner: A Brooks

Trainer: Venetia Williams

Difficult to make a case for having looked a shadow of his former self in two starts since returning from long-term injury; soft ground would suit and trainer did win the race with a 100/1 shot back in 2009.


32. Vics Canvas (66/1)

Owner: Bodeen Bandits Partnership

Trainer: Dermot McLoughlin

No teenager has won the race since 1923 (Sergeant Murphy) and this 13-y-old will have to buck any number of trends to win the big one.


33. Black Thunder (50/1)

Owner: Donlon, MacDonald, Fulton & Webb

Trainer: Paul Nicholls

All wins over obstacles with plenty of give in the ground and has had a light but disappointing campaign so far this season; has bits of form which suggest he is well handicapped off his low-weight but is he quite the force of old even at the relatively young age of nine?


34. Ballycasey (66/1)

Owner: Mrs S Ricci

Trainer: Willie Mullins

Another possible runner from the yard of Willie Mullins but only got as far as the eighth 12 months ago when brought down and stamina has to be taken on trust, given he is another who has yet to win at 3miles let alone nearly four-and-a-half.

Ballycasey and Ruby Walsh can jumpt their way to victory at Gowran Photo: Sportsfile

35. Hadrian’s Approach

Owner: Mr & Mrs R Kelvin-Hughes

Trainer: Nicky Henderson

Has a touch of class but how he will take to these obstacles is anyone’s guess as he has never been the most fluent of jumpers; ran well on his return from a long absence at Kempton back in February and good ground would suit.


36. Vieux Lion Rouge (50/1)

Owner: Prof Caroline Tisdall & John Gent

Trainer: David Pipe

Trainer David Pipe saddled Comply Or Die to win the race back in 2008 and this decent novice finished sixth in the 4m National Hunt Chase at the Festival last month.


37. Pendra (66/1)

Owner: John P McManus

Trainer: Charlie Longsdon

Always seems to attract significant market support and not guaranteed to appreciate a thorough test of stamina although he has won over 3 miles at Ascot; has been off the track since December but goes well fresh and no forlorn hope.


38. Saint Are (14/1)

Owner: D W Fox

Trainer: Tom George

Finished runner up in the race last season and is 2lbs better off with Many Clouds for the length and three quarters he was beaten. He didn’t jump quite as well as Many Clouds last year but 20/1 looks a very fair price to go one better than 12 months ago given he ran as well as ever when winning a valuable veteran’s chase at Doncaster when last seen back in February.


39. Home Farm (80/1)

Owner: C Jones

Trainer: Henry De Bromhead

Another Irish raider who has yet to win beyond 2m 6f but he did finish third in the Irish equivalent (3m 5f) back in 2013 as a novice; hard to make a case for on what he has achieved over hurdles this season but could be a different proposition back over the larger obstacles.


40. The Romford Pele (40/1

Owner: Trembath & Outhart

Trainer: Rebecca Curtis

Named after former Arsenal midfielder Ray Parlour and another whose recent runs have been over the smaller obstacles including when a close eighth of 26 in the Coral Cup at the Festival last month. If he gets into the race it would be no surprise to see him attract decent support as he will think he’s let loose off 10st 4lbs.


41. Knock House (66/1)

Owner: T P Radford

Trainer: Mick Channon

Didn’t have the best of runs when a staying on fourth in the Kim Muir at the Festival giving the impression he would have been involved in the finish with the clear passage; trained by former England football international Mick Channon and sure to have his supporters.


42. Bishops Road (25/1)

Owner: Alan Halsall

Trainer: Kerry Lee

Another who would be carrying more weight (10lbs) if the handicapper could have his say given the 8-year-old run out a facile winner of the National Trial at Haydock after the weights for the race had been framed. That was on soft ground but the excellent first season trainer Kerry Lee insists better ground won’t be a problem; cannot start at 25/1 for the race if he gets a run although he does need seven to drop out.


43. Pineau De Re (40/1)

Owner: J A Provan

Trainer: Dr Richard Newland

The winner of the 2014 renewal but now 13-years-of-age and hard to see him turn back time although the handicapper has given him a chance; not guaranteed to get a run.

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Pineau De Re ridden by Leighton Aspell jump the final fence as they win the Grand National at Aintree

44. Alvarado (33/1)

Owner: Mr and Mrs William Rucker

Trainer: Fergal O’Brien

Has finished in the money (4th) in both the 2014 and 2015 renewals of the race but much like his stablemates before him Cappa Bleu and State Of Play has never looked like actually winning running on past beaten horses. Another who needs a number to come out for him to face the starter and has been laid out for the race.


45. Highland Lodge (33/1)

Owner: Bowes Lodge Stables

Trainer: James Moffatt

Won the Becher Chase in December having been sold in the autumn out of Emma Lavelle’s yard for just £20,000; all wins with plenty of cut but breeding suggests he will be every bit as good on decent ground and another whose connections will be praying they get into the race when the declarations are made on Thursday.


46. Maggio (150/1)

Owner: D G Pryde/James Beaumont

Trainer: Patrick Graffin

Beaten out of sight at Kelso behind Many Clouds last time and impossible to make a case for even on the revised terms.


47. Perfect Candidate (66/1)

Owner: ISL Recruitment

Trainer: Fergal O’Brien

Likely to stay and possibly jump but unlikely that he will be good enough to trouble the judge; his last six starts have all been at Cheltenham and he was well held in the Kim Muir last time.


48. Present View (66/1)

Owner: Sir Chips Keswick

Trainer: Jamie Snowden

Another with major stamina concerns and I have always felt that the Topham was his ideal race; not entered in Friday’s race over the National obstacles; owned by the chairman of Arsenal FC but not gooner be a winner of the National.


49. Midnight Prayer (33/1)

Owner: The Legends Partnership

Trainer: Alan King

Winner of the 4m NH Chase at Cheltenham in 2014 but only had five subsequent starts; confirmed as good as ever when runner up at Warwick in January and needs extreme distances; might struggle to get into the race but each way prospects if getting a run. 


50. Cause Of Causes (14/1)

Owner: John P McManus

Trainer: Gordon Elliott

Was taken out of the Irish Grand National at the 11th hour to wait for Aintree but will he get a run?  Bolted up in the Kim Muir Handicap Chase at Cheltenham last month and every chance of improving on his eighth placed finish behind Many Clouds 12 months ago when given too much to do; one of the leading candidates if he makes the 40-runner field as he would be asked to carry 12lbs more if the handicapper could have his time over again.


51. Royale Knight (50/1)

Owner: C E Stedman & R J Corsan

Trainer: Dr Richard Newland

Finished sixth in the race last year and would have place prospects again but such is the quality of the race this year that it would be a surprise if he made the final 40 declarations although we won’t know until Thursday evening.


When is the 2016 Grand National?

It is almost time for Britain's annual day out at the races - where for the space of a few hours each year everyone pretends to understand form guides and scrutinises what difference heavy ground might make to the horse whose name we like the most.

This year's jamboree is being held at Aintree on Saturday, April 9.


What time does it start?

Later than usual this year. The race has been shoved back an hour from its usual time in an effort to allow more punters to watch it live - specifically, the thousands of sports fans who are otherwise detained between 3pm and 5pm at football matches. The start time is 5.15pm.


Which horses are eligible?

The Grand National is open to seven-year-olds and upwards which have been placed first, second, third or fourth in a chase of three miles or more and which have a a rating of 120 or more according to the British Horseracing Authority.


When is the field confirmed?

An initial field of eligible horses is confirmed on Monday, April 4.

The final list of declarations is confirmed at 10am on April 7. 

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